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February Trips and Podcast Picks

These last few weeks have certainly been interesting in Hokkaido. With the fear of coronavirus leading the governor to issue a state of emergency on the island. Luckily all my weekend plans were already canceled (more on that later), so for me staying home and just chilling was pretty easy! I did get a bit of traveling done mid-to-late February, so I thought I’d kick off this month’s blogs by sharing some of that, and also I thought I’d include some podcasts and videos that I’ve been into lately!

Mini-Loki Figure
Picked up this guy in Hakodate.

A trip to Asahikawa!

So last month my band Youryokutai Club was invited up to the city of Asahikawa to play a show. Located right smack in the middle of Hokkaido, Asahikawa City is the second largest city on the island (behind Sapporo) and is actually where I lived when I first moved to Japan about 10 years ago! So I’m always a bit nostalgic heading back.

This time we were invited up by our friends “Valentine’s Suicide Club” who (as is their namesake) hold an event every year around February 14th. Although maybe not the kind of music you’d think we’d mesh with, I feel like their style is a great representation of the underground feel of the event. Also they wear paper bags on their heads for the whole show, it’s kind of their thing.

This year however, they had some family issues came up (a new baby!) and weren’t able to play with us, but the event must go on! We played at a place called Asahikawa Mosquito, a truly underground venue that supports a great community of local musicians.

Entrance to Mosquito
Entrance to Mosquito

We’ve been fortunate to have met and become friends with many local bands over the years, and have played at Mosquito many times. The stage and main hall are great, but I’m especially fond of the bar and separate dining room, where the after parties are always held. The after-party food is always hand made during the show, and it’s absolutely delicious.

Mosquito After Party

I also had a short vacation the last weekend of February and headed down to Hakodate for some relaxation and sight-seeing! I’m sure I’ll talk more about the town in a future blog, so for now I’ll just post some pics from the trip.

Goryokaku Fort
Goryōkaku Fort!
Jazz Bar
Cool guest house/music bar I visited.
Cool Lampshade from the jazz bar
They had cymbals for light-shades! Definitely want some…
Lucky Piero Fast Food Chain
Selfie in the local burger chain ‘Lucky Piero’ Just a little scary…

Some podcast suggestions.

This past weekend I was supposed to be heading to Osaka with sleepy.ab to kick off their new album’s tour, but sadly this month’s dates were all cancelled. We may be doing a streaming thing on the 15th if we can find a proper venue, but it’s a bit too early to say. I’ll post about it if it’s going to happen, so keep an eye out for an announcement of some kind. Either way, it was super disappointing not to be able to go on the trip, and as it coincided with the whole state-of-emergency announcement I decided to stay in and binge on a few videos and podcasts. So today I thought I’d share some of my favorite shows!

I’ve been a fan of Jake Parker’s YouTube channel for a few years, and he kind of took a haitus from video making in 2019 which led to me discovering this incredible podcast. Jake Parker teams up with Will Terry and Lee White and the three of them “talk about illustration – how to do it, how to make a living at it, and how to make an impact in the world with it.” They upload a new episode every two weeks, and I always find the info and their banter so informative and entertaining.

If you’re a fan of NPR’s Car Talk, this is that but by two cartoonists talking about the web comics industry. Every week Brad Guigar and Dave Kellett take on new listener questions about the cartooning industry, and while occasionally specific to artists, as with 3 Point Perspective a large number of questions are applicable to any creative person. I just started listening to them a couple months ago, and I’ve gotta say, I find the show and their friendship absolutely delightful and a joy to listen to.

The Dick Cavett Show on YouTube
I had never heard of this show before I stumbled on it during a YouTube dive last year, it’s a bit before my time, but I’m so happy they’ve decided to upload these clips on online! Dick Cavett’s humor is absolutely timeless, and he had such a variety of guests on his show. Some guests’ names I’ve known but have never had the chance to see video of before, and there’s something about seeing people on video that books and stories just can’t ever match. The quality is fantastic, and the content (although occasionally dated) is great. Here’s a little taste featuring Dali and his anteater:

If you know me, you know I love musicals. And although I’m a fan of the major Broadway productions, I’ve also become a huge fan of Team Starkid and their musicals. They originally rose to popularity when they uploaded their musical take on Harry Potter. But they’ve done many more great shows, and most are available to watch free online! They just released their newest show on February 29th, called Black Friday. It’s a bit of a Steven King-esque story about an evil doll. However, if it’s your first time watching their stuff, I’d recommend going with their older work first. My personal favorite is their take on Disney’s Aladdin, told from Jafar’s POV (ala Wicked) called Twisted. (Warning: although hilarious, the lyrics are definitely NSFW)

Hope you enjoy some of the links above! Let me know if you’ve got any suggestions for me, the next few weeks are looking to be a bit slow and I imagine I’ll be spending a lot of time at home…

Also I’ll be releasing my March music recommendations soon, you can find them here once I update. This month is a bit of a mixture of genres, so something for everyone!
Stay creative – E

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